Transitioning from summer and fall to winter is by far the most challenging shift for many of us. It’s not just that it gets cold and dark, it can come with many other effects on the body. In Ayurveda, winter is the season of Vata. Going into the Vata period of the year – airy, dry and cold can make you feel stiff, achy and it can effect the nervous system, making it more sensitive and shaky. It is more challenging to ground and sleep at night. Personally, I also get much more sensitive to caffeine than in the summer as well. Some periods in the winter I can’t even have coffee in the morning to be able to sleep at night, maybe you recognize some of the symptoms of a Vata imbalance. But, there are some key things to make the winter more easy and peaceful that I’d like to share with you.
1. Make sure you go outside in nature and get daylight and fresh air at least 30 min in a row per day.
2. Eat warm, sweet and oily food and drink hot drinks. This really makes a huge difference. You can also use heating spices like ginger, chili and garlic. Try some Vata herbal tea or golden milk. Hot porridge is a great breakfast and warm stews for lunch and dinner.
3. Take hot baths. This is so calming and soothing and warms up you stiff muscles. Moisturize your body, lips and hair more than usually.
4. Practice yoga and adapt it to the season. Try out Restorative yoga and soothing pranayama like long smoothe breaths or single nostril breathing.
Be aware that you will be effected by the cold and be gentle with your body. If you come to the yoga studio from the cold outside and your thighs and hips are cold, they will be more stiff than usually.
5. Be extra keen on eating your daily vitamins. Vitamin D, Omega 3 and Magnesium are basic ones to support you through winter and if you have other specific needs go for them as well.
6. Slow down, meditate and do things that calms and grounds you.
7. If you feel very much in your head and thoughts are spinning, do the very simple exercise of just noticing and feeling your feet, stay with the attention there until you feel the grounding effect and thoughts slowing down.
8. Try to keep routines with food, sleep and exercise.